Senior managers in BNP Paribas' London fixed income business have apologized to staff after a dinner intended to lift their spirits deteriorated into a display of pole dancing.
The dinner, which reportedly took place in mid-September at a London art gallery reportedly began pleasantly enough with a string quartet and free flowing champagne. During the dessert, however, attendees report that a woman in a tutu appeared on stage. This tutu was whipped off and the woman, clad only in a 'scanty leotard,' began to gyrate around a pole seemingly put there for that purpose.
"She showed her crotch and bottom and stuck out her boobs and gyrated her body up and down," says one attendee. "It was very tacky and the audience was very shocked and sat there in complete silence."
The dinner preceded an offsite organized for BNP Paribas' 50 most important fixed income staff, several of whom are women. "It has been a tough year in banking - the idea was to energize everyone and to treat them for their hard work," says the attendee.
BNP Paribas declined to comment. However, we understand that the bank has apologized to the staff who attended the event and has opened an investigation into the matter. The pole dancer apparently came as a surprise. The act had reportedly been billed as a Swan Lake style ballet with Cirque Du Soleil overtones.
"It was really, really embarrassing, a real fiasco and has caused a lot of issues internally," says a senior BNP Paribas banker.
Last year, BNP Paribas was reviled following a motivational offsite (also allegedly involving the fixed income business) featuring a video portraying a Deutsche Bank rival as Hitler.